May TVGB Q&A / Reboot my heart

Nostalgia is a cottage industry in gaming. Whether we’re talking about HD remakes, revived franchises, or prequels and sequels a plenty, an insanely large portion of publishers are greenlighting new versions of old games, pinning their hopes — and bottom lines — on gamers’ willingness to put on rose-colored glasses and bathe in sepia tones.

Punch-Out!! for Wii — arguably this month’s biggest release — is a prime example of this. This new entry in a series that hasn’t been touched in 15 years may feature updated graphics and Wii-specific controls, but the majority of the characters in the game have been ripped directly from the previous NES and SNES iterations and slathered with a coat of 480p paint. But we’re not here to debate the potential success of Punch-Out!! — we’re just using it as an excuse to talk about other reboots we’d throw cash at. Which brings me to this month’s question:

Which neglected game/series, retro or otherwise, do you feel is most due for a new entry/reboot?

Luke Walker: What a great question, and one that any of us could yammer on about till long after readers move on to the next article. If I’d been asked a few years ago, top on my list would have been Sonic (don’t give up, guys, statistically they have to come out with something good eventually), Red Steel, Splatterhouse, and Golden Axe. All of those are out or in the works, and more remakes or surprise sequels are out than most of us could have guessed. Go Bionic Commando!

Luke and more of TVGB’s finest continue the conversation after the break…

There are still great games to be remade or series to revisit. Top on my new list is still Golden Axe. Beast Rider amped one of the greatest thrills of the old game, but left out the most important — two players with friendly beatings. I know I beat plenty of friends, in-game and out, that wouldn’t stick to their side of the screen and cost me precious lives. Then we would kill each other over who gets the magic. It’s no wonder we never beat the game, but it was damn fun! I beg Secret Level to stick with it and bring us a co-op Golden Axe in the same style of Beast Rider.

Keeping retro, I would also love to see a great remake of Altered Beast and Primal Rage. I know it is weird that I seem to have a beast fetish going on here, but these were coin eaters that, looking back, owe me some serious payback. Altered Beast did get a PS2 update, but to my knowledge it never saw a North American release. I remember a trailer that looked like you turned into some mix between a frog and the creature from the black lagoon, which is probably why it didn’t make it far in the end. Primal Rage needs the Street Fighter treatment with an HD update and expanded character roster. I’m thinking something wearing another creature’s skull as a crown.

I’d happily pay $80 for a PSP, PSN, or even PS3 sequel to Dead Head Fred for PSP. This was hands down the funniest game I’ve ever played and should be owned by all adult PSP owners that like dark humor, John C. McGinley and decapitations. Same goes for a true sequel to Bad Fur Day.

Finally, and I know this will probably never happen, I want a sequel to Okami. That game was unbelievable. But, the studio is gone and everything with some of the developers still working on killer games like MadWorld. Sad that some games just don’t make it.

Oh, and how about some DLC for Brawl eventually. I want Mewtwo so I can kick that Trainer’s Poke-lovin’ ass!

Emmanuel Petti: Luke needs to get out of my head because I would love to see a remake of Altered Beast — a proper full out remake. Give me an Unreal Engine 3 version of that game. I would be excited beyond imagination if got to hear “Rise from your grave!” again, but only this time in full amazing 3D graphics.

I personally really like what was done with the HD remake of Street Fighter II and I would love to see that done with the 2D Mortal Kombat games. I know Mortal Kombat is still kicking, but nothing compares to the first three and a half versions of those games. Try to imagine the original Mortal Kombat in full HD resolution and better quality sound. Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II and the two Mortal Kombat 3 games could use the Street Fighter II HD Remix treatment, and I bet players like me would be willing to pay.

One game that’s near and dear to my heart, and has been for what seems to be decades now, is an old adventure platformer on Sega Master System, Zillion. It’s by far one of my most favorite games of all time, and it’s one of those games that very few people seem to have played or even heard of. I’d absolutely love to see this game revisited. It’s a game that hasn’t be thought about or heard of since Zillion II in 1987. It’s about damn time for Zillion III.

Also, since I didn’t own a PS2, I’m conveniently ignoring the fact that Space Harrier got a remake there and hope that one day that game also gets revisited. I guess I have an affinity for old Sega games. In that case how about After Burner, Fantasy Zone, Streets of Rage, Dragon Crystal… Man, I could do this all day!

Jordan Fehr: Interestingly, a few of my wishes have already come true when it comes to ports or remakes. Final Fantasy Tactics is my favorite game of all time, and it was ported to PSP for me to take wherever I go, and Capcom was gracious enough to create Mega Man 9 for those of us who were glued to the NES at age 5. But, I still have some ideas…

Let me address my esteemed colleague, Emmanuel, and just say that Streets of Rage, specifically Streets of Rage 2 is fantastic, and anything anyone wants to do with it I am in full support of. The side-scrolling, isometric brawlers of that era are all amazing: Final Fight, SOR, TMNT, X-Men arcade, Spiderman: Maximum Carnage (so hard!). I love them all. I definitely think the Turtles in Time remake is awesome, especially with the inclusion of the classic game, but personally I would prefer X-Men the Arcade game. And speaking of arcade brawlers that you can’t find, who remembers Alien vs. Predator Arcade? Amazing.

Good call, Luke, on the SSB Brawl DLC. That is an untapped money machine that everyone wants. But when I read this month’s question, the first thing that popped into my head was Power Stone. Now I realize that Power Stone Collection came out for PSP, but the series doesn’t belong with that terrible nubbin joystick. I would love to see a new Power Stone on 360/PS3.

Next comes Vagrant Story. I really don’t think I need to say a lot about this, but someone at Square Enix please get on that — preferably a sequel of similar style, just with more polygons.

Next is an obscure multiplayer game that would be just perfect for a remake. A PlayStation game from Activision called Blast Chamber. Four players battle in a cube that can be rotated 90 degrees at the kick of a button. All are strapped with C4 and battling the puzzle for their very life. Perfect for a party game remake on XBLA/WiiWare.

And how about some quick mentions: a Majora’s Mask remake with the Twilight Princess engine; Air Fortress; a remake of Rygar instead of bad, next-gen brawler games pretending to be Rygar; and for the love of god, find a way to release the third Fear Effect game or make a new one. Maybe the world is ready for Bubsy to make a comeback?

Lee Bradley: I always end up listing a ton of my childhood favorites when asked this question, all of which are 2D. So let’s just get one thing out of the way first; I don’t like 3D remakes of 2D games. I just don’t. I know Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time rock, but I don’t care. In the vast majority of cases, if you give an old classic an extra dimension it loses all its charm. I’m going to put my neck on the line here and use Bionic Commando as the perfect upcoming example. That game’s gonna be stinky rubbish. Give me Bionic Commando Rearmed any day.

So I’m going the Rearmed route with all my choices, foregoing talk of proper reboots. The likes of Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo HD Remix and Rearmed are shining examples of how to go about revisiting old games. They respect the source material. Just a tweak here, a prod there and a beautiful HD re-paint is enough. Think of it as conservation. That’s how I’d like to see all my old classics treated, not bastardised and spoiled by dragging them away from what made them fun in the first place.

First up, I’ll have every single Capcom fighting game please. That’s right, all the Vs. games, Darkstalkers, all the Street Fighter iterations – the lot. And I’d like Sirlin to do it in exactly the same way as SSFT2. Just a bit quicker this time please, Mr. Sirlin, alright? Cheers.

Next up I’ll have Strider, the old Capcom arcade game from 1989. There have been rumors and speculation for a while about this particular title, so I’m hoping it may actually crop up eventually. For those that don’t remember, Strider was a futuristic platformer far removed from the cutesy stylings of Sonic and Mario, featuring the eponymous Strider Hiryule, A NINJA ASSASSIN FROM 2048! That completely melted my 9 year-old mind. A HD remake would melt the 29 year-old version.

Moving away from Capcom, I’d love someone to get hold of the Disney licenses and revisit Castle of Illusion, World of Illusion, and Quackshot. To those that haven’t played these games, old-school platformers starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck may not sound that enticing, but they were of the highest quality, stealing away hours of my childhood. Give them a HD scrub-up, and I’ll happily let them steal a few more.

Last but not least, I’m going to suggest something that doesn’t quite fit our remit here. A polished-up, online multiplayer-enabled version of NHL ’94. It’s not overlooked and the series continues to this day, but bring this particular entry onto PSN and Xbox LIVE for a decent price, and you’ve got yourself a winner. That game was pure, unadulterated arcade-y fun. Bring it back, EA. Go on, you know you want to.

Adam Sandberg: There are loads of game series that have been left out in the cold when they really should stay inside drinking Irish coffee and getting back rubs. My fellow companions have already listed quite a few of them, but there are definitely more games that should be brought back. I really liked Lee’s idea about bringing NHL ’94 back onto XBL and PSN though — there’s a huge difference between today’s HD games and the older ones – and that’s not only in bad ways.

Jordan mentioned the brawler Aliens vs. Predator Arcade, and speaking of that particular series, what the hell has happened with Aliens vs. Predator on the PC? Not really retro, but it’s a shame we don’t hear anything about it anymore. When discussing games that scared the crap out of you, you can put your last cent that someone will mention the Marine campaign in Aliens vs. Predator. That series would work great in current-gen graphics, and today’s sound and lighting effects would fit perfectly. By the way, multiple campaign-games are truly underrated. It’s great to be able to choose which race/character/etc. to play — just look at Blizzard’s achievements in the RTS genre.

Next, I want to go down the path of obvious and mention the point-and-click games from LucasArts. I know these are games that practically every gamer wants to see, but I’ll say it anyway. Full Throttle, Monkey Island (1, 2, 3) and Grim Fandango are games that are too good to never come out again. I know LucasArts have said they’ll probably make games like these again sometime, but when? Five or ten years from now? Just make sure they’re not 3D when they get here. Monkey Island 3 is to me the perfect example of how a point-and-click game should look.

From monkeys, we move to soldiers. I would die to see a remake of the game Cannon Fodder for Amiga. The great music and the dark humor, such as “Mission briefing: Kill all enemy,” is just my kind of game. It would probably work well as a BioWare-ish, semi-turn-based fighting game in HD. Also, the ridiculously hard Trojan for NES would probably work today. A fast-paced, third-person game where you sword down everyone and everything you come across is needed.

Last I’m just going to shout Carmageddon. Painting the streets red and running over dogs in full HD would be enjoyable, but I would also thrive in the panicking people would do and the “videogames could turn your neighbour into a serial killer” discussions it would bring up.